1951 Football squad grabbing a share of the national titleThe 1951 squad posted a near-perfect 9-0-1 record on the season, grabbing a share of the national title. The team started off the season with seven straight wins, beating 20th-ranked Washington and No. 15 Michigan along the way. The Illini suffered its only non-win of the year against Ohio State when neither team managed to score in a 0-0 tie. ...
Illinois Fighting Illini – Dick ButkusButkus chose to attend the University of Illinois and played center and linebacker from 1962 through 1964 for the Illinois Fighting Illini football team. In his first year on the varsity team, he was named to the 1962 All-Big Ten Conference football team as the third-team center by the Associated Press (AP) and second-team center by United Press International (UPI). ...
football team wins national championshipIn 1990: The football team wins their fifth national championship, going 8–4 under coach John Mackovic. They are recognized as national champions by several selectors, including the FACT and the New York Times.
Illinois basketball team wins Big Ten titleIn 2001: The basketball team wins their seventh Big Ten title, going 13–3 under coach Bill Self. They also make their sixth NCAA Tournament appearance, reaching the Elite Eight.
Deron Williams Fighting Illini YearsWilliams was recruited to play college basketball at the University of Illinois for the 2002–03 NCAA season by Bill Self. In his freshman year, he started 30 of 32 games and ranked third in the Big Ten Conference in assists with 4.53 per game. Bruce Weber assumed the head coach position for the Illini in April 2003 and helped develop ...
Illinois football team wins Big ten titleIn 2007: The football team wins their seventh Big Ten title, going 6–2 under coach Ron Zook. They also make their 16th bowl appearance, playing in the Rose Bowl.
History of the Illini
The Illinois Fighting Illini is among the NCAA's most storied college sports teams. The team has a long and illustrious history, with great moments and unforgettable players. The Illini have won numerous championships, including four national titles in basketball—the last one coming in 2005—and two Big Ten football titles since joining the conference in 1896.
The school's first major success came when they won their first-ever Big Ten title under coach Robert Zuppke during the 1914 season. This marked a turning point for the program and its fan base, as it was seen as proof that Illinois could compete with anyone on an equal footing among collegiate athletics programs nationwide. From there, more success followed over time with multiple bowl appearances throughout various decades, culminating in three consecutive Rose Bowls from 1983 to 1985, which included a win over UCLA during this period as well!
In addition to these successes on field/court action, many iconic figures have come out of Champaign-Urbana wearing orange & blue such as Red Grange (1925 Heisman Trophy Winner), Dick Butkus (1965 NFL Defensive Player Of the Year) or Deron Williams (2005 NBA 1st Round Draft Pick). These individuals were integral to building up not just individual legacies but also helping build up what is now known today as “Illinois Nation” – all those who proudly wear Orange & Blue colors no matter where they may be around the world!
Overall, whether you’re talking about past accomplishments or current stars like Ayo Dosunmu leading the way for future generations, it is clear why so many fans continue to rally behind the University Of Illinois Fighting Illini year after year - because we know that each new era brings potential greatness waiting just around the corner... Go Fightin' Illini!!
College Sports Established
University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign
1973 - Present / NCAA Division 1
1921 - 1973 / University Division of the NCAA
1907 - 1921 / Athletic Association of the United States
1896 – Present / Big 10
Fighting Illini - The University of Illinois Fighting Illini is one of the most iconic college teams in the NCAA. But do you know where their nickname comes from? The story behind their name is an interesting one that dates back to the 1920s.
In 1917, “The Loyal Order of Moose” held a contest to develop a new mascot for the university’s athletic teams. A student named Arthur Luehrmann submitted his suggestion: “Illini,” which was derived from "Illinois" and was meant to represent all those who lived in or near Illinois at that time (including Native Americans). His idea won out and soon became part of school lore.
But why did they decide on “Fighting Illini?” It wasn't until 1926 when head coach Robert Zuppke began using this phrase to motivate his team during games against rival schools like Purdue and Northwestern universities - he wanted them to fight hard against these opponents! From then on, it stuck as part of their official moniker and has been used ever since by fans everywhere whenever cheering on the Fighting Illini!
So next time you cheer your favorite team onto victory, remember how far back its roots go – all thanks to Arthur Luehrmann's creative suggestion almost 100 years ago! Go Fightin' Illini!!!
Men's Basketball 2
Women's Basketball 0
1951, 1927, 1923, 1919, 1914
To qualify as the greatest player for this team, the player must have played one season for this team. If not, we will remove the player.
* verifies that player has played for this team as an added player by a fan.